We leave tomorrow and I can't wait!!

Sep 4th, 2008, 10:02 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 754
We leave tomorrow and I can't wait!!

After nearly a year of planning and endless checking and questioning on this site, we are finally leaving for China and Viet Nam tomorrow morning.
I have listened to the advice of all my Fodorite friends and we expect to have a wonderful trip. I can't imagine that this time tomorrow we will be airborne on the way to the Roof of the World!!
Thanks to everyone - I will report when I get back.
Lolo12 is offline  
Sep 4th, 2008, 10:48 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
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Have a wonderful time!
Marija is online now  
Sep 5th, 2008, 08:48 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
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I'm sure you'll have a fantastic time ,enjoy!
Shanghainese is offline  
Sep 5th, 2008, 08:52 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2008
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Wait for your return and a report.
Chinaren is offline  
Oct 27th, 2008, 10:57 AM
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Hi Lolo12 - I saw your reply on my old Egypt thread but when I came across this thread I thought it would make more sense to talk about the Viking China cruise here.

When I was considering booking I had a LOT of questions but now that I've booked and have over a year to wait I'm not so focused on that trip - I'm back to thinking about other ones coming up next spring & summer! But since you offered I'd love to get your overall impression of Viking and the trip in general.

We're doing the Shanghai to Beijing Imperial Jewels cruise next November. Sounds like you did Tibet, too. That must've been amazing.

Did you find the food to be okay on the cruise portion? I'm not a super picky eater but for some reason I've had little stomach bugs on my last 2 trips and I'm starting to get paranoid. Did anyone on your trip have any complaints? I assume the whole trip you drank only bottled water, true?

Were the cabins okay? We've booked the cheapest category - after reading there was not much difference except that being in the front of the ship is better than the rear -- I didn't want to spend extra for a better category.

What was the average age of your group? It seems like people need to be in pretty good shape to do all of the walking required - did you have any problems with people slowing things down?

And did you think the factory or other shopping stops were too much? I guess I can deal with a bit of that, seems the cost of doing business, but I'd hate to spend time shopping at the expense of other sites or time in museums, etc.

Thanks in advance for any comments.

Leslie

Leslie_S is offline  
Oct 28th, 2008, 10:22 AM
  #6  
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Leslie: The name of the tour we took was called the Roof of the World because it included Tibet.
There were 18 people in our group and we stayed together the entire time except for the cruise portion. However, even then, as we took the daily excuresions, we were together.

We opted for a cabin on the 4th level, kind of mid-range in price. The accommodations were quite nice. The food on board was pretty decent. Breakfasts were all American-style buffet with Chinese choices as well. Most of the dinners were American except for their Chinese night. The service throughout the ship was excellent.

The people in our group of 18 were mostly in their late 50s/early 60s. There were 2 British men, slightly over 70 and very youthful and spry. and one couple in their late 40s. With the exception of 1 woman who was rather frail to begin with, no one had any problems either with the food or with the activities. However, in Tibet many folks suffered slightly from altitude sickness. We did not because we took precautionary medication. But this wouldn't matter to you since you won't be going there.

We were given bottle water every day and we drank that or canned soda/beer. And of course wine at dinner.

We did make several stops at carpet and jade factories where they give you their pitch. That being said, there were really some very nice things to buy.

As I said, we were a group of 18 that stayed together - but on the ship there were people of all ages. From the looks of them, they all appeared to be in fairly good shape.

I had my doubts before leaving on this trip as to how Viking would coordinate all these people into the various daily excursions, etc. They were so organized that I was very favorably impressed. Our guide was outstanding and he shared his enthusiasm for his country with us all. The hotels we stayed at were all 5 star and lovely. No problems in that respect.

We were the only ones who opted for the Viet Nam extension and Viking honored the trip. We had our own guide for the 6 days which was really neat.

I would be happy to answer any other questions you have.
Lolo12 is offline  
Oct 28th, 2008, 11:28 AM
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Thanks for that info. I've read a lot of good things about Viking (especially on the cruise critic boards) and also have some friends who took their Danube trip and thought they did a great job.

Did you rely on ATMs for currency? If so, were they easy to find in the big cities & airports?

I assume the dress code is casual - do people dress up at all for dinner on the cruise? Sounds like they keep you so busy with excursions there might not be much time to change!

Did you use the laundry services on the cruise or at hotels? I'm getting better at packing light but it helps if you know you can get some laundry done. We just had the experience in Peru of sending out laundry & having it returned to us damp (2 different times / places -- my guess is they hang things to dry not use a dryer). That was almost worse than having dirty clothes!

Did you use the visa service that Viking recommends? I see posts about cheaper ones but I hate taking a chance when it involves my passport.

Thanks again for any advice!
Leslie_S is offline  
Oct 28th, 2008, 12:51 PM
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Leslie - Unbelievable - I just wrote a long and detailed answer to your questions and all of a sudden - pffft - it disappeared.

Here I go again -
As for the $, I left for China with $50 in singles and about $150 in 5s and 10s. This was mostly for the trinkets that were sold and priced in dollars, like "2 fa dollar".
I used the ATM machine at the Beijing airport and then had the hotel change the larger bills into smaller ones. I usually notify my bank before I leave for a trip and let them know that I will be using the ATM card so I have no problems. And I didn't have any. There were many ATM machines throughout the cities in China and you should have no problem.

As for the dress code - everything was casual. We often would not have much time to change before dinner, but I usually at least changed my top. On the ship there were maybe 2 nights that you might want to dress up a little, but even then, it would be "smart casual". Men rarely wore jackets and hardly any wore ties.

By the time we boarded the ship we had been away for 8 nights and it was time for laundry. We had it done on the boat and everything came back (yeah!!) in very good condition. No problem. It was relatively inexpensive ( although not as dirt cheap as in Viet Nam) and well worth doing.

We did use the recommended Visa service - even though it was a bit pricey. I originally sent in the passports with a picture taken outside my home. But I guess the beige siding gave it away and they called and insisted on a professional picture. So we had to send new pictures.
I am currently awaiting the return of my passports from getting an Egyptian visa. We are going there in January. I too hate to let the passports out of my sight.

Anything else? I'm happy to help.
Lolo12 is offline  
Oct 29th, 2008, 05:25 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
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Thanks again! I wish we had "talked" before you sent away to get an Egyptian visa. That was no big deal at all, the counter is right in the airport when you arrive - no long lines, only $15. Very easy. But I guess if you have it before you go it's one less thing to think about.

The Yangtze cruise sounds like the same level of dressiness as our Nile cruise. We took some clothes to change into - skirts & nicer tops - but ended up going in our "excursion" outfits every night because of lack of time to change. One evening we got back from touring late and our guide had to call and ask the kitchen to stay open just for us. We were a dusty mess - no coats or ties for sure!

I'm glad to hear that the money situation will be easy in China. And that laundry won't be a problem either.

Thank you again for your advice. I'm sure when it gets closer I'll have more questions -- I'll try to reach out again on this post next year and see if you're around.

Have a great time in Egypt & if you have any questions about that I may be able to answer them.

Leslie
Leslie_S is offline  
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